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Neck Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
:''( I'm scared to death, to have neck surgery. On Oct. 8th, 2008 I will have C5-C6 ACDF. Not sure what to expect after I come to. I heard that my throat would just as much and the neck itself. Someone give me some feed back please.


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Sorry to hear you have to go through the surgery. What type of platting is being used and what type of bone is being used. Will you need to be in a brace or collar and for how long. Do you know how long your surgeon thinks you will be out of work, What type of outcome does your surgeon anticipate you will have,

    There is a lot of information here on the boards. You might want to check out the video section as there is a video animated of your procedure. Also the very top thread here is a link to archive files that may help as well. So cruise around and read some of the threads and i think you could get some good ideas as well as come up with more questions. Anyway welcome to spine health and good luck on the 8th.
  • Welcome to spine-health. You are in the right place for lots of information. I would suggest that you research the procedure and ask lots of questions. Tamtam has suggested some good ones for you to take to your doctor so that you will know what to expect.

    Many people do have a sore throat, but in my experience it was not that bad. I was eating just fine the day of the procedure, so try not to be too worried about it. My sore throat was more like just a dry throat and feeling like you have a cold coming on. Pre-surgery I was told it would feel like I swallowed a golf ball, but I was very pleased that it wasn't like that for me. Everyone reacts differently, so just go into it prepared with a fridge full of yogurts, puddings, ice cream, and some instant breakfast drink. some suggest chloraseptic spray to help soothe the throat.

    Good luck to you, and feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • For me I had swallowing issues and pain. Its been over a year and I still get pills stuck in my throat about every other day. I do not think most people have problem lingure on like I have had. I woke up with a neck collar that I had to wear 24/7 for about 2 months. I could not bend over and my wife had to help shower and dress me. Again I think alot of people may have these things to a minor degree. I still to this day use childrens chewable vitamins. I hope you have a good core of people of at least one person to help you when returning home after surgery. It makes things better when you can sit or lay down and heal without over doing things. I wish you best of luck and I will say a prayer for you to have a sucessful surgery and a speedy recovery.
  • HI Beth,

    Welcome to Spine Health. You are in the right place for information, support and friendship.

  • Hi Beth,

    I understand your fear. I too am having ACDF surgery on C5-C6 on October 6. I've been reading the message boards and have found them very helpful and informative. Keep us posted on how things go for you, as will I. Good luck!

    God bless,
  • Good luck. I'm having surgery on the same day, except posterior C5-C6 work. I had a C5-C6 revision fusion in May and it went much better than the surgery I had in 1999. Make sure you have a comfortable chair/recliner for resting during the day (and maybe sleeping at night).

    Don't rush your recovery. I did and that's one reason why I'm back on the table after 5 months.

    Pray for the inventor of pain relievers and take your meds as prescribed. Stay ahead of the pain.

    Drink fluids: it helps flush out the anesthesia and gives you some exercise running back and forth to the loo.

    Eat wisely: I packed on 25 lbs from all the chocolate people brought me. :jawdrop:

    Lots of fiber and soft foods, at least for the first week. Or make sure you have stool softeners on hand in case the pain meds slow down your bowels. #:S

    walking helps this process, too. Have a small goal for each day: to the front door, then to the mailbox, then the corner, then two blocks, etc. Go at your own pace, but move around a bit to shake up your insides.

    I'd recommend getting as short a haircut as possible. Washing my hair was one of the more uncomfortable activities; you have no idea how much you jostle your head until you are post-op.

    And stay connected...to your family, friends and sites like this. It helps you remember that there is lots of life outside your bedroom's walls.

    Good luck and heal quickly. :O)

  • I'm trying to rest and take it easy. My throat still feels like a have a golf ball in there somewhere. Is that normal? My main problem, I'm having is constipation. I started taking stool softeners and now eating alot of fiber. Thank God for that! I need someone to let me know just how snug this hard collar has to be? It is driving me crazy.
    I start off sleeping in my bed, flat with no pillow, then I feel like I'm going to choke from the collar. So, I end up on the recliner and I sleep much better.
    I will be getting stitches out this week. I pray I get a good report. Sometimes I do feel like I do too much. My shoulder blades start hurting and I end up with ice on them. I'll slow do for the rest of the day. I don't want to screw anything up.
    I walk every morning about 6:15 am down my street for excercise and I night.
    Has anyone experianced a popping noise in their neck after surgery? I will ask Doc., I'm sure he'll have all the answers.
    Well, I'm like everybody here, just needed to rattle on alittle tonite.
    I'm a hairstylist, so you know I have a hard time just sitting around during the day. I'm am learning how to relax through this time.

  • Overall it sounds like you are doing well. Recovering from neck surgery takes a while, and man is it hard to be patient.

    I'll try to share my experiences to answer some of your questions, but please remember to discuss it with your doctor as well at your appointment this week.

    I was told that one of the reasons our throat feels like a golf ball is stuck is because they have to move things out of the way when doing an ACDF. The esophagus is very thin, and it tends to swell from being manipulated during this surgery. The swelling takes a long time to go away, even up to 6 months. I would suggest trying soothing drinks like slushies or shakes, and even trying cloraseptic throat spray. Make sure you discuss it with your doctor so that he can monitor this.

    As for how tight to wear your collar, your doctor needs to be the one to tell you this. You probably need to wear it the same tightness that they had on you when you were in the hospital. Have you googled the brand of your collar? I know the Aspen Collar has instructions online.

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing with the stool softeners and fiber. Yuck, that can be miserable.

    Try to remember not to overdo, which it sounds like you are listening to your body.

    When they take your stitches out and you see this nice red puffy line, don't freak out. The scar eventually fades to being barely noticeable.

    I always find it helpful to make a list of the things I want to ask the doctor so that I don't forget while I am there. Good luck with your appointment.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • OMG thank gosh i am not the only one!
    i have had all kinds of popping creaking snapping in my neck since my surgery on sept 09. i had posterior fusion c1 c2 twice. brutal.
    but i am five weeks post op and i get snap crackle pop all the time. as for pain . . . .just burning occipital pain occasionally. i am actually following up with my family doctor evry two weeks for xray because i need reassurance that all is ok. my ns NEVER RETURNS PHONE CALLS.
  • Beth...... How did it go????? JON
  • I was just wondering how you are feeling now that we are at 5 weeks.
  • Beth, just wondering how you are doing these days. I had the same surgery as you did and I am about 3 weeks out now. It took about 5 days before I could eat solid food. Before that, everything just kind of got stuck at the level of my incision. I drank a lot of protein shakes that first week.

    As for constipation, I didn't have a BM for 6 days after my surgery (of course I wasn't eating all that much). I took Miralax until I finally had a BM and then for a couple days after. Pain meds are often constipating, so you may have to stay on stool softeners for awhile. So far I've been good after that initial 6 day lapse!

    Did they use cadaver bone or autograph from your hip? I had cadaver bone, so that saves me from the hip pain. My NS used subcuticular sutures that will dissolve, so I have no stitches to take out. I'm very impressed with the small size and appearance of my scar.

    My NS doesn't like collars post-op for a single level fusion and I'm very glad I didn't have to wear one. (you can read my post on the subject under the topic "Collars after cervical surgery - yes or no"). Since I was able to move my neck freely from the very beginning I already have better ROM now than I did pre-op and I won't have to go through painful PT. Slow, careful movement, ice, heat and massage really helped with my shoulder muscle spasms, too. BTW, I do have crackling when I go through full ROM exercises, but no pain.

    I hope you are recovering well. Drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and NSAIDS and maybe start taking Omega 3/6 supplements (they have anti-inflammatory properties and are good for connective tissues). I couldn't be more pleased with my outcome so far since I am on minimal pain meds and back to work part-time already.

    Good Luck to everyone!
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